Saturday, October 15, 2011

Miss Lavender Goes to Hawaii

Dreaming of...not palm trees.
Confession: I've never been to Hawaii, nor do I particularly want to go. Honestly, I'm not much of an outdoors person, and from what I hear vacationing in Hawaii involves a lot of hiking around dormant volcanoes, jumping into waterfalls, and lying around on the beach. I prefer my vacations to involve museums, historical architecture, and eating food in nice restaurants. And I really don't like the color lavender either. It's always seemed a little washed out, like it couldn't make up its mind about being a strong jewel tone, like aubergine. I have almost every color in my wardrobe somewhere, except lavender.

Back view.
But! I have to say, I am in love with this lavender dress with a tropical-ish floral print! Not really sure how that happened, except that I think it might have something to do with feeling like I overcame an obstacle. After all my issues trying to draft a strapless bodice, this dress finally works! And even though there are still lumpy bits and some make-do stitches on the bodice, and the boning in the lining doesn't quite match up with the seams on the fashion fabric, I am really pleased with myself. I love the look of the sweetheart neckline, it stays up on its own, I don't feel scared when wearing it, and my husband thinks it's sexy. And I learned a lot.

It has useless pockets!
When I make my next strapless dress, I will definitely underline the fashion fabric on the bodice. Or use some fusible interfacing? Either way, this bedsheet could have use some more help. Also, I will use a more tightly woven fabric for the lining, since I ended up just using a pre-washed muslin. The skirt portion doesn't need the pleating detail; gathered (or circle?) is fine. No pockets, since I honestly don't think I'd be putting anything in them. Although I think I did a pretty good job with the boning, fitting, and waist stay, I just know I would still be wary of anything helping gravity out.

Close-up of the bodice. Not too shabby, considering the issues I had.

A look at the halter strap. I also sewed in ribbons for hanging it up with.

To make the halter part, I just sewed an extra-wide bias tape into a tube, then put buttonholes in both ends. I put a button on the inside of the dress, so technically I can even wear it strapless if I want to. Maybe with a cardigan, since I don't think I'm that courageous.

The ribbons for hanging actually work!

Fabric used: thrifted poly-cotton bedsheet ($1.50), cotton muslin (stash)
Notions: button (stash), ribbon (stash), swimsuit hook for the waist stay ($0.75), zipper ($2), and extra wide bias tape ($3), boning ($3)
Hours: Ummmm, probably 12? But a lot of that is due to my lack-of-foresight-fit-issues and slowness of hand-stitching.
Techniques used: Handpicked, lapped zipper, waist stay, boning, pleating
My lovely pleats.

Will you do this again? Yes, with hopefully a lot fewer issues and less time involved!
Total cost: More than my usual dresses -- over $10!
Final thoughts: I am so glad that this dress worked out! I actually had a hard time falling asleep worrying about this dress a couple nights last week. But it just goes to show, it is actually possible to draft a working strapless dress from another bodice pattern. Also, boning is amazing. I am no longer scared of it.

I'm so glad I finished this dress while it's still warm out. October has see-sawed between being cold, gray, and misty and being ninety-plus degrees. Also, I'm hoping I'll get to wear this when I go to Arizona next weekend. I mean, come on, it's a desert!

1 comment:

  1. Gah, you are totally amazing! How have you turned what seemed to be a disaster into a totally wearable, totally cute halter dress?! I suspect illicit magic of some sort.
    I do highly recommend Hawaii, though, even to a museum-architecture-restaurant lover (which I am too!) - I've been twice now and my beach-laying was practically nonexistant, but we did snorkel a lot (it's like an aquarium, only bigger and wetter) and eat some great seafood in many nice restaurants, and I managed not to ride a waterfall into a volcano, thank goodness. However, the secret thing about Hawaii is that no one actually wears nice dresses at all... just things that are easy to put on over swimsuits.


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